All summer long we buzz up cold soups in the blender and enjoy them as dinner first courses, lunches, or just snacks. Our favorites are not only easy to make, they're delicious and fairly low in fat and calories.
Gazpacho, our style, is our all-time favorite. It's also the easiest. Put 24 ounces of V-8 or Tomato Juice into the blender and add (all coarsely cut up) one tomato, one red onion, peeled, 2 cloves of garlic, peeled, a big handful of parsley, and a peel and seeded cucumber. (My habit is to peel the cucumber, cut it lengthwise into quarters, zip out the seeds with four quick cuts, and stand the long slices up in the blender.) I then add 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil (more if you like), 2-3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce, and about 6 good shakes of Tabasco Sauce. You shouldn't need salt or pepper because the sauces have those ingredients in abundance. Buzz it for a few minutes and serve in bowls with croutons. (Home-made is best of course, but we usually settle for Pepperidge Farm's.)
Almost equally popular at our house is a Yogurt Cucumber Soup. Variations of it can be found all over the middle eastern world. It's equally easy. Place a quart of plain, non-fat yogurt in the blender. Peel, seed, and insert two cucumbers, as above; they make a kind of picket fence around the blender. Add a large bunch of dill, minus the stems, well washed (it tends to be sandy), 2 cloves of peeled garlic,, 2-3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 6 splashes of Tabasco Sauce, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of walnut pieces. Buzz in the blender until the noise (of the walnuts) quiets down. This is thin, tangy and quite sharp. You can make it smoother and less tangy by adding some sour cream or olive oil to the mix. I'd try 1/2 cup of sour cream or 1/4 cup olive oil if you like that idea (not both).
These are our standout favorites. We like them so much that everything else we try -- cold pea, cold chicken curry, vichysoisse, cold fruit soup -- is always a one-time thing, but these are weekly occurences. Each makes four generous servings and is perfectly happy sitting in a container in the refrigerator for several days.